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Library says: Read our lips.


Forbush Memorial Library in Westminster has a little something for some people to peruse: overdue notices delivered to your door by the local police.

It seems that with the increased use of public libraries as the economy faltered, there has also been an increase in patrons not returning borrowed materials on time.

Police Chief Salvatore J. Albert received the names of some of the worst offenders from the library last month, and over a span of two or three weeks delivered letters telling borrowers of their transgression. Reviewing a list dating from 2003, the library found roughly $8,000 worth of unreturned items.

Although the library notified patrons itself - some owed as much as $200 - it seems some recipients didn't take the notices and bills all that literally. Police were put on the case, and the response, according to Library Director Margaret Howe-Soper, has been encouraging. "Most people have been very cooperative ... a little rattled when the police arrived. It does get attention," she said.

She also said the library is willing to consider extenuating circumstances. The main goal is getting those costly books, DVDs and CDs back on the shelves.

We wouldn't want any library to make a habit of calling in the town's finest over overdue fines. But it's refreshing to see this one watching over its resources closely, and reinforcing the rules.

State law says it's illegal to keep library materials longer than 30 days without permission. But law or no law, public libraries deserve everyone's respect and cooperation. Don't be a small-time book crook or a petty periodical purloiner. Take back what you took out, and pay up.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 22, 2009
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